Google TV Is Official: The Web And Pay-TV Have Finally Clashed - HotHardware
Google TV Is Official: The Web And Pay-TV Have Finally Clashed

Google TV Is Official: The Web And Pay-TV Have Finally Clashed

Google's own I/O conference in California is wrapping up today, but not before the company goes out with a serious bang. To our knowledge, Google is about the only technology company out there today that is big enough to throw their own party and get people to come, aside from Apple of course. One of the major announcements from today's keynote speech was something that had been rumored for awhile: Google TV.

Unlike what we had heard earlier, there's not going to be a special Google TV set-top box, at least not yet. Basically, Google is taking the Apple TV concept, but going way overboard by introducing apps, screen customization and channel searching. Google is really, really good at two main things: advertising, and search. TV is a huge business, far larger than smartphones or even the Internet. Far more people (four billion, according to Google's own research) have access to a television screen than a broadband signal, and Google is hoping to take advantage of that fact.


Google stated today that too many people are having trouble deciding what to watch, when to watch and where to watch content. Google TV aims to clean that mess up, by combining the best of the Web with the best of TV. The crazy part here is that this should work with any pay-TV provider, as the software to make this all work is simply built into TVs of partner companies. Sony has announced that they'll be one of the first to ship a Google TV-infused set, which will allow users to search for TV shows (on the Web and elsewhere) like they're used to doing on Google's other services. Google Chrome is built into the service, allowing users to access all of your favorite websites and easily move between television and the Web.

Following Google's own announcement, none other than Intel stepped in to provide some backbone to the story. Google is obviously using the big players to move Google TV forward, with Intel, DISH Network, Best Buy and Adobe firmly on board as well. Google TV itself is based on Android and runs the Google Chrome browser, and it will allow users to access all of their usual TV channels as well as a world of Internet and cloud-based information and applications, including rich Adobe Flash based content. The hardware needed to make it all happen is based around the Intel CE4100 CPU, the company's latest system-on-chip designed to power these types of applications. If you wondered how this would work with multiple pay-TV carriers, you can still keep the mystery alive; but that said, we are told that DISH Network will be the first launch partner, so those using DISH now are most likely to get first dibs.


To navigate the array of content that will now be available through a single device and on a single screen, Google TV introduces an integrated search experience to help viewers easily find relevant content across over-the-air and pay-TV channel listings, DVR, and the Internet, as well as a picture-in-picture layout to access multiple windows simultaneously. Google TV also features an innovative home screen to help viewers quickly organize their favorite content and personalize their TV viewing experience. Some of these features are only available with advanced integration from DISH Network, so it's unclear how they'll translate with "other carriers."

It's somewhat difficult to describe in words how this changes the TV experience (it's pretty massive!), so we'll let Google attempt below and point you this video to get a better understanding. For now, you'll have to wait until later this year to see Google TV show up on that Sony set, but we're sure there will be lots of news on this front between now and then.

Google TV uses search to give you an easy and fast way to navigate to television channels, websites, apps, shows and movies. For example, already know the channel or program you want to watch? Just type in the name and you’re there. Want to check out that funny YouTube video on your 48” flat screen? It’s just a quick search away. If you know what you want to watch, but you’re not sure where to find it, just type in what you’re looking for and Google TV will help you find it on the web or on one of your many TV channels. If you’d rather browse than search, you can use your standard program guide, your DVR or the Google TV home screen, which provides quick access to all of your favorite entertainment so you’re always within reach of the content you love most.

Because Google TV is built on open platforms like Android and Google Chrome, these features are just a fraction of what Google TV can do. In our announcement today at Google I/O, we challenged web developers to start coming up with the next great web and Android apps designed specifically for the TV experience. Developers can start optimizing their websites for Google TV today. Soon after launch, we’ll release the Google TV SDK and web APIs for TV so that developers can build even richer applications and distribute them through Android Market. We’re looking forward to seeing all of the ways developers will use this new platform.

We’re working together with Sony and Logitech to put Google TV inside of televisions, Blu-ray players and companion boxes. These devices will go on sale this fall, and will be available at Best Buy stores nationwide. You can sign up here to get updates on Google TV availability.

This is an incredibly exciting time — for TV watchers, for developers and for the entire TV ecosystem. By giving people the power to experience what they love on TV and on the web on a single screen, Google TV turns the living room into a new platform for innovation. We're excited about what’s coming. We hope you are too.
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Pretty huge news here! Going to be interesting to see what the service is like, especially with these heavyweights behind it.

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Agreed Dave!

I predict AppleTV patent lawsuits will start dropping in 5.. 4... 3... 2...

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I don't think patent lawsuits will be dropped.

Also I think it's kind of interesting they're going the AppleTV route by showing internet video on your TV. It's just one more step in enjoying Internet TV right in the comfort of your own couch. Also I'm one of the lucky ones who actually has Dish Network so, I guess dibs.

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By "dropping", I mean commencing like bombs. If you don't think Apple will try to protect their small market, then I'm sure HTC will beg to differ.

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What about the handset?

The video show a pointer cursor, but it's not clear how that's controlled.

How will the user enter text?

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Pretty obvious that logitech will be the I/O provider (mouse/keyboard).

Just wondering if this is as big a deal as it's made to be. This is just an extension to google search but doesn't actually change the content delivery model. You could, prior to this announcment, connect an hdmi port on a laptop and output a webisode of a show to a large TV.

Granted there are some cool aspects of this but, like many things Google, this seems a bit half baked. A major blowout would have been for providers (like shaw/rogers/cogeco etc in canada) to provide their content over Internet feeds. Or perhaps the studios directly, bypassing the delivery people.

"The Google" TV is a good concept of web and TV integration but the logical step of migrating content onto an Internet feed is where the big win will be down the road. True convergence. Right now the content delivery people (I work for one, so I know a bit about this) are focusing on voice/data/Internet services and how to 'bundle'. While we're not at the point of true convergence, I'd like to see more progress towards a pipe that everyone can receive and have or not have whatever they want on it. True open Internet. Your choice of skype/SIP/whatever phone provider, shows selection as simple as a web page and not a 'package' that you have to add to your basic package to view.

Economics of delivery, ya ya ... I know. Everyone needs to make their money, but if 'pipe' providers had to ensure quality networks and delivered decent bandwidth, this Google TV concept would be far more powerful. Essentially the connections on the back of your TV would now receive Cat5e/6 connection instead of CoAx. If your pipe was poor quality, switch providers. And yes, i realize QoS/CoS type issues arrive with voice/video but I think if more people focused on the end game, we'd get there sooner. What a remarkable web we'd have if anyone could access whatever content they wanted when they wanted where they wanted and POST their content as well. Why do the studios have control on content. Generate your own.

All about money in the end of course, so Google won't kill the delivery model for years until their 'partners' are ready/willing to do so.

Sorry for the rambling. Bit of free thinking here with little/no self-editing. Take it for what it is.

Cheers!

epg

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I think we should all humbly welcome our new overlords. GOOGLE. 

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epg, all very good observations and points. Google is very good at providing "mediums", search, content distribution etc. I think once they get their hooks into this thing, it will be very interesting to see the end game that you're speaking of take shape. Think about it, they've certainly got the backend to deliver the content, now they just need a couple of deal (or acquisitions) on the pipes that route it. We shall see!

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This looks kinda cool. I still wanna see some more into it. Doesn't really look like anything I don't have now.

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